I enjoy xmas and I make no apology for it. I love popular culture, and xmas is a garish, ridiculous festival of such. I love it.
In the first millennium CE it was the wish of the Church to crush the people's love for their traditional festival that had endured for several millennia, namely a celebration of the turning point of the year following the shortest day/longest night, 21 December.
No one in the Papacy knew the date of Jesus's birthday so the fraud was initiated of celebrating it on 25 December to serve as replacement appeasement.
Therefore, by all means continue with your gift-giving, but with the thought that you are taking part in a truly ancient much-loved festival that predates all the nativity fictions.
a truly ancient much-loved festival that predates all the nativity fictions.
That's my thoughts on it, too. I downplay the religious aspects and focus on the family traditions...wrapping presents, baking, decorating the tree, putting up lights outside, etc.
It is hard not to get sucked into the materialism part of gift-giving so I try to stay on a budget. And I shop early...I'm not one of those last-minute shoppers. I worked at the mall as a seasonal worker 2 years ago and worked right up to Christmas and it was amusing to see all the 'desperate' shoppers with wild looks in their eyes...I worked at Waldenbooks and their calendar kiosk. It was an educational experience, that's for sure.
In fact, New Year's Day used to be the solstice day, the 21st.
The Papacy shifted it to the 25th, and calendrical alterations took it to 1st January.
21st December was Day 1 on the most ancient calendars.
21st June was Day 183
20th December was Day 365.
Exactly, gift-giving pre-dates Jesus! It pre-dates formal religious ceremonies, as well. Does anyone with a background in evolutionary development studies know if modern primate groups exchange tokens of appreciation? I think there is evidence of prehistoric human societies leaving tokens in grave sites/burial mounds...but that has a different meaning, I suppose, than exchanging gifts with the living!
And a gift is different than a 'trade'....isn't it? Maybe this discussion belongs in micro economic studies...ha. At what point does gift receiver A feel guilty about not reciprocating with gift giver B at an equal, if not greater, level of expense?